The SKA (Square Kilometer Array) Observatory, meaning a multibillion-dollar radio telescope, is moving into its construction phase. There are so many questions left unanswered about the Universe, and the upcoming mega-array is expected to uncover some precious mysteries about the stars and our place among them.
However, there’s a catch here, as it usually goes in life. Scientists are trying to figure out how to deal with satellite mega-constellations, as these could pose a threat, as a new article from spacenews.com suggests.
Philip Diamond, who is director general of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Observatory, declared as cited by spacenews.com:
We radio astronomers have been used to dealing with the interference from satellites and aircraft systems,
What the megaconstellations do is that they change the game for us.
Many satellites will be operating on frequencies that SKA-Mid is tuned to observe. Diamond also says that the SKA was in discussions with satellite operators for mitigation measures that could limit the impact on the SKA telescopes. However, no specific measures were elaborated.
According to Federico Di Vruno, who is the spectrum manager of the SKA Observatory, “flagging and excision” technologies were developed by the observatory for identifying radio-frequency interference by satellites. The spectrum manager warned that even if the problem can be handled with the constellations, the future systems would only make the problem bigger. That includes the Chinese Guowang constellation that could have about 13,000 satellites.
As you perhaps already guessed, the term “SKA” from the upcoming radio telescope’s moniker practically says an important thing about the array’s purpose: the telescope itself will be built across large distances — one square kilometre, to be precise.
Feel free to check out our previous article about the SKA Observatory following this link.